Check Out The Time When Seoul, South Korea Looked Just Like North Korea Does Today [PHOTOS]

Seoul is getting harassed by the North Koreans again, this time over a jointly controlled manufacturing facility.

It’s a reminder that the two countries never officially ended their conflict, which began in 1950 (only an armistice was signed).

Despite the North’s history of empty bluster, South Korea is taking all necessary precautions — they’re now reportedly shopping for bunker-busting bombs from Europe.

That may seem natural — the South is one of the world’s most important marketplaces, and needs to protect their standing.

But until around the ’90s, they didn’t have quite so much to lose from an economic standpoint.

With the kind cooperation of flickr user Stephen Dreher, we’ve compiled a series of striking images of Seoul from the mid-1960s, only a little more than a decade after hostilities had ceased. His descriptions appear beneath each photo.

As you’ll see, there are plenty of scars still apparent.

Here's Seoul in the 1960s.

Korea was mire in an image as a war-ravaged backwater.

'Sunny day, with a dusting of snow still around, looking north toward City Hall on Taepyong no 2Ga, about halfway from Namdaemun. Duksoo Palace gate on right.' Seoul, Dec 1965

But much like its other neighbours in Japan, South Korea eventually began to rebuild.

'On the way to see Hello Dolly, on its Asian tour, starring Mary Martin.' Seoul at night, Nov 1965

In 1966, Hilton and Intercontinental pledged to open their first hotels in Seoul.

'Amazing what got moved by hand back then.' Seoul, 1966

Source: New York Times

'Some war damage evident on building.' Crown Brewery, Nov 1965

Source: New York Times

'Cortege emerging from Tonwhamun.' Seoul, 13 Feb 1966

Source: New York Times

But there was still a long way to go. As of 1971, 74 per cent of Seoul's citizens still relied on buses.

'Street scene, Seoul, with bus and Gook min Bank.' Seoul, late 1966

Source: New York Times

The man behind this transformation was Park Chung-hee, a controversial figure who'd taken power in a coup.

'US Embassy. Flag at half staff probably for Adlai Stevenson, which would date this as after 14 July. Bando Hotel on right. Building under construction extreme left was to be Samsung HQ, as I remember.' Jul 1965, Seoul

'Yaksu dong town offices.' Seoul, 1965

'Street scene somewhere.' Seoul, 1966

Between 1960 and 1970, the value of the South's exports grew from $30 million to $1 billion.

'Cattle drive through somewhere in the northwest part of Seoul. Where are they going?. We had to wait before we could turn right.' Seoul, Jun 1965

The country's major industrial base was textiles.

'An orthographic nightmare. No possible way to transliterate this into hangul Hoo RA baw (Flubber), starring Hoo REH duh Ma kuh MA reh (Fred MacMurray in The Absent minded Professor). 'Piccadilly theatre, 1966

Source: New York Times

Electronics also played a major role, especially after Samsung entered the field.

'Taken from the parking lot of the Naeja Hotel. Capitol in the centre. The Naeja had good jazz on weekends on its roof garden.' The Capitol, from Naeja dong, 1965

Source: New York Times

Samsung was founded a generation earlier as a grocery company

'Repairs, clock.' Seoul, 1966

Source: New York Times

In 1979, Park Chung-hee was assassinated.

'Yongdungpo, just over the bridge' Seoul, Aug 1965

But the country remained under a nominal dictatorship. In 1980, at least 191 people were killed during democracy protests.

'Disabled crossing sign. Near East Gate? the light is from the other side, so we're looking southerly or southwesterly.'

Seoul, Apr 1966

Source: New York Times

But the economic base Park had created remained, and by the early 80s companies like Hyundai and Daewoo had taken off.

'View Southeast from North Gate 창의문 (extreme left). Is that church still there?' Seoul, Dec 1966

Source: New York Times

In 1981, Seoul won its Summer Olympics bid for the '88 games. It was a watershed moment signaling the South had arrived.

'Tongdaemun, looking west.' Seoul Jun 1965

Source: New York Times

'My favourite of the gates. The traffic was more interesting in those days. Looking East.'

Tongdaemun, Apr 1966

Source: World Architecture Map

Perhaps the best indicator that Seoul had by the end of the '80s become fully developed is a travel piece the Times did in 1989...

'City Hall Square, Looking toward South Gate. Duksoo Palace gate on right.' Seoul, Dec 1965

'Central RR Station.' Seoul, 1966

Source: New York Times

Seoul, 1966

Source: New York Times

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